Modern Mono White Hammer Primer & Sideboard guide
24/09/2022 · 14 min read
Who am I?
Hello, I’m Sergio Gimenez also known as Ayzkub_ on MTGO. I mostly play Modern and sometimes Pioneer. And as you can guess, my deck of choice when I’m playing Modern is Mono White Hammer.
The Mono White Hammer versions I used in the Challenge
(11 - 2 - 2)
73% in Grand Open Qualifier Paris @Legacy European Tour [497 Players] — 17-Sep-2022
|4 Esper Sentinel||$37.99|
|4 Puresteel Paladin||$9.49|
|4 Stoneforge Mystic||$42.99|
|4 Colossus Hammer||$3.49|
|1 Kaldra Compleat||$6.49|
|3 Springleaf Drum||$0.35|
|1 Sword of Fire and Ice||$54.99|
|2 Blacksmith's Skill||$0.25|
|2 Steelshaper's Gift||$19.99|
|4 Sigarda's Aid||$11.99|
|4 Urza's Saga||$37.99|
|1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||$9.99|
|3 Inkmoth Nexus||$39.99|
|10 Snow-Covered Plains||$0.69|
|4 Silent Clearing||$5.99|
|4 Drannith Magistrate||$14.99|
|3 March of Otherworldly Light||$2.79|
|2 Sanctifier en-Vec||$1.29|
|1 Pithing Needle||$1.29|
|1 Relic of Progenitus||$5.49|
|2 Hallowed Moonlight||$4.99|
Why did I choose Mono White over the Azorius Version?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best version of the deck depends on your personal preferences. However, I believe that MonoW is more resilient and faster than UW, making it a better choice for me.
UW provides you with good creatures to protect your equipped creature, like Giver of Runes and Spell Pierce. However, this can limit the hands you can keep, as it forces you to play a more midrange style, instead of just searching for an equipper and a hammer.
Mono White Hammer Gameplan
This deck's primary game plan is to use either Puresteel Paladin or Sigarda's Aid to equip a Colossus Hammer.
However, the deck also has a number of other options and game plans that can be employed using its other equipment or by using Urza's Saga.
“Mull to an equipper”
Is something you'll often hear from Hammer players, and for good reason. This deck puts a lot of pressure on opponents in the early game, forcing them to either interact and delay their own plans or be constantly threatened with lethal attacks.
You don't want to just jam your opponents with a Hammer every time you can, you need to be patient. If you cast a Hammer too early, you might lose the game to removal or countermagic.
There are times when you can ignore this heuristic and just go for the win. For example, when playing against BRx decks, look for cards like Stoneforge Mystic, Esper Sentinel and Urza’s Saga. These cards create incremental threats that are difficult for BRx decks to deal with.
The equipments set
Playing MonoW Hammer gives you a broader assortment of tools. Here are some of the ones I use:
Colossus Hammer is the most powerful equipment card in the deck and you will often want to fetch it even if you don't have an equipper. Sometimes, the board state may be so unfavorable that you'll just hope to draw the equipper that can get you out of the situation with the help of the Hammer.
This card is great against creature decks, as it will help you to gain life while powering through them. Remember that its activated ability can also be useful against indestructible creatures.
Sword of Fire and Ice:
All around great equipment that provides a good clock with card draw attached to it. It works best in boards where you don’t have many artifacts or you and your opponent are just constantly trading resources.
This equipment is just “average”, it doesn't do anything special but it's not bad either. But it is an equipment that allows all your "bad" creatures like zeros or a Stoneforge Mystic to become a real threat.
I've found that Kaldra is much less exciting in the first game and, on the other hand, really good after sideboarding. It's also an incredibly annoying creature to deal with, and it's your best equipment when you are keeping hands full of sideboard cards. Be aware of Archmage's Charm as it may lock the board completely.
Keep or Mulligan
Keeping hands is probably one of the hardest skills for this deck, as they decide how the match will develop. In the dark, you want to keep any hand that has a Sigarda or Puresteel Paladin and a sideplan in the form of Urza’s Saga, Stoneforge Mystic or multiple Esper Sentinels. Don’t be afraid of keeping hands that have no equipment as you play 4 copies of Colossus hammers and 10 searchers.
If somehow, you know what your opponent is playing this gets way easier. For combo decks, the best plan is to use the equipper route, on the other hand for midrange decks you should go into "Saga Control" mode.
After sideboarding, you will need to adjust your strategy depending on what matchups you are up against. Here is a rundown of the most popular matchups you are likely to encounter in the current metagame.
Mono White Hammer Sideboard Guide
Important note: Keep in mind that your opponent may be playing with cards that you're not aware of, so always be prepared to adjust your strategy on the fly.
- In: 3x March of the Otherworldly Light, 1x Pithing Needle
- Out: 2x Blacksmith’s Skill, 1x Sword of Fire and Ice, 1x Nettlecyst
If you want to win the first game, equip the Hammer as soon as possible. This will put your opponent on the backfoot and give you the advantage. If you’re the one under pressure, to unlock a board like this, you will need to get either a Kaldra on board or threaten lethal with an Inkmoth Nexus. In other words, the player who equips the Hammer first usually takes the game.
Post sideboard the games center a lot around March/Path so beware of your threats getting exiled by a timely March. Use Needle to your advantage as you deny Stoneforge Mystic/Colossus ability.
- In: 2 Sanctifier en-Vec, 1 Relic of Progenitus, 1 Pithing Needle, 3 March of the Otherworldly Light
- Out: 3 Ornithopter, 2 Springleaf Drum, 1 Kaldra Compleat, 1 Steelshaper Gift
This is the dream matchup. We're incredibly favored here. In the first game, you want to keep an early Ragavan in check with Memnite or Esper Sentinel. Remember that Archmage's Charm can steal your Kaldra or hammer-equipped creature, so try to equip it to Stoneforge Mystic if able.
Games after sideboarding tend to be slower as players have access to better removal spells and opt for more controlling strategies. Be careful with your constructs, as your opponents may have EE and Dress Down in their decks. Remember to fetch for Pithing Needle and target Explosives with your sagas.
- In: 2 Hushbringer, 1 Pithing Needle, 1 Relic of Progenitus
- Out: 2 Memnites, 2 Springleaf Drum
This is a difficult matchup. They have a lot of interaction and safety valves in the form of Solitude. I recommend keeping any hand that can reliably pressure them even if it does not have any equipper. It’s important to know that games can go long since you have Nettlecyst and Sword of Fire and Ice to make any creature a threat, just don’t let them take over the game and force an answer every turn.
Post sideboard it gets more complicated as we don’t get many cards. Try to Pithing Needle Boseiju if there’s no clear target and protect Hushbringer as it stops many of their cards.
- In: 2 Sanctifier en-Vec, 2 Hushbringer, 2 March of the Otherworldly Light
- Out: 3 Memnite, 1 Nettlecyst, 1 Sword of Fire and Ice, 1 Kaldra Compleat
This is a pretty favorable matchup. If you can get a hammer early on in the first game, it should give you an easy win. If you keep a hand without equippers, try to get a Shadowspear.
Post sideboard, Deflecting Palm can easily steal the game, so I recommend a slower plan with Shadowspear. Equip it to creatures with low power, like Stoneforge Mystic and Ornithopter.
You don't need a big life swing, some life points each turn are fine. If you're sure your opponent has Palm, don't be afraid to go for a draw by attacking with multiple creatures. You may have a better chance in another game. Finally, remember that they can play Smash to Smithereens and Path to Exile.
- In: 1 Relic of Progenitus, 2 Hallowed Moonlight, 4 Drannith Magistrate
- Out: 1 Sword of Fire and Ice, 1 Nettlecyst, 1 Steelshaper’s Gift, 4 Esper Sentinel
This matchup is probably our worst at the moment. They can either Grief or Force of Negation our threats while their plan completely negates ours with a board wipe. Game one it all comes down to being able to kill on turn three or force a bad Living End from their part.
Post-sideboard, Drannith Magistrate becomes our key card, as it completely negates theirs. Try to mulligan to this card, as it will give you time to develop a board state where you can win the game. Remember that they have bounce effects, so if you can deploy a second copy as soon as possible, or play with Blacksmith’s Skill up all the time, that will be ideal. Also, this is where Kaldra Compleat shines, since it gives you a quick clock without any equipper.
- In: 2 Hallowed Moonlight, 2 Sanctifier en-Vec, 2 March of Otherworldly light.
- Out: 3 Memnite, 1 Sword of Fire and Ice, 1 Nettlecyst, 1 Springleaf Drum
A slightly disfavoured pairing, they are a semi-combo deck that has loads of early game interactions in the form of Fire//Ice, Prismari Command and spot removal. They’ve gotten some new toys recently with Leyline Binding which makes things a bit worse. I like to approach this MU in a very aggressive way as there’s a clock in the form of Indomitable Creativity, that means mull to an equipper.
Oftentimes your opponent will play an Archon to stabilize the board, but that doesn't mean you've lost the game. You can force them to make bad blocks so that it doesn't die and keep playing.
You can also try going ultra aggro with a turn one Saga + Drum + Creature as it will be difficult for them to keep up the pace.
After sideboarding they just bring in more removal so take care of cards like Boseiju and Force of Vigor.
- In: 3 March of the Otherworldly Light, 1 Pithing Needle, 2 Hushbringer
- Out: 4 Esper Sentinel, 2 Memnite
This is a complicated matchup because they are going for a fast Titan plan, while we might be a bit slower going for a midrange one. Game one is all about speed, so remember that they have some Boseijus in their main deck.
We have Marches while they get extra Boseijus, Dismember and Explosives. Try to snipe as early as possible a Saga or an Amulet to slow them down.
- In: 1 Pithing Needle, 1 Relic of Progenitus, 2 Hushbringers, 2 Hallowed Moonlight, 3 March of the Otherworldly Light
- Out: 4 Esper Sentinel, 3 Memnite, 1 Springleaf Drum, 1 Sword of Fire and Ice
A slightly disfavoured pairing, they have a lot of annoying blockers and Grist that kills our big guy, so for the relevant cards we got Shadowspear, Kaldra Compleat and Puresteel Paladin. The number of cards Yawg can draw is proportional to their life, so if they have low life they will see fewer cards. That's why it's important to be aggressive with attacks, because sometimes they have Yawg but not the combo.
Kaldra is extremely important in the post-sideboard games because she provides a lot of ways to slow down the opponent's game plan. Be sure to use Pithing Needle on their Yawgmoth and protect your Hushbringers.
- In: 1 Pithing Needle, 1 Relic of Progenitus, 3 March of the Otherworldly Light
Out: 1 Springleaf Drum, 3 Ornithopter, 1 Shadowspear
This is a similar matchup as 4C Control but I’m a bit more comfortable playing against it as we have better tools. On game one keep an eye on Archmage’s as always although you may play a bit looser unlike in the UR matchup. Make sure to put the right amount of pressure on the board, the control player will be looking for the best spot to Supreme Verdict you, make sure it’s not a good one ever.
Post sideboard they get extra Chalice of the Void and Dress Down but the gameplay is quite similar to game 1.
Tips and Tricks
- You can activate an Inkmoth that has a Hammer equipped so it gains flying again.
- You can Blacksmith’s Skill the target of an Indomitable Creativity for 1 so it will fizzle.
- Try to avoid putting too many equipments on Puresteel Paladin as you don't want one single removal spell to stop your whole plan
- You can get around Chalice of the Void by using Stoneforge’s ability
- You can cast March targeting a Saga while the first chapter is on the stack so they don’t get any many for the turn.
- You can go under a Ensnaring Bridge by attacking with an Ornithopter and attaching hammers with Sigarda’s Aid after declaring attackers.
- Sometimes playing a Saga on turn one can be a good option if you also have a Drum and a zero. It comes with the risk of losing any tokens the Saga could make if they deal with the zero but oftentimes it pays off being aggressive.
- If you have a Kaldra Compleat in table and a Puresteel Paladin, you may attach it to a creature with summoning sickness so it attacks that same turn.
- Try to fetch an equipment that is not Kaldra if you have a Steelshaper’s Gift in hand, the opponent might not bolt the SFM and you might get a chance for it to enter the battlefield.
- I never side out all of my drums: I like having the option of fetching at least one with Saga
- Always be on alert for an Archmage Charm on your Kaldra, you don't want your board to be locked because of it.
- Double Sigarda can be extremely useful when playing a Hammer if your opponent has spot removal up. You can target two different creatures with each trigger and then decline whichever trigger you don’t want to do.
And that's all! I hope this was useful and see you at the next tournament!
If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones UW Narset Undoing Primer & Sideboard Guide [Modern], Going Mythic with Mono Green in Explorer, Hardened Scales In-depth & sideboard guide
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Sergio Giménez, better known as Ayzkub_ on MTGO, is a MTGO Grinder. He mostly plays Modern and sometimes Pioneer and you can see him often in the top places on MTGO Challenges. He likes to put a pen over his ear when playing card games. He's currently working on a retirement home for MTG Grinders.
Published: 2022-09-24 00:00:00